The Centre had set a deadline of October 31 to conclude the process of talks with the Naga rebel groups Credit: Twitter

Itanagar: The air in Arunachal Pradesh is still thick with the winds of Naga talks, as the focus has now shifted from the question of territorial integrity to the establishment of an autonomous administrative division. According to the NSCN-IM’s website, the map of ‘Greater Nagalim’ comprises Tirap, Longding and Changlang (TLC) region of Arunachal Pradesh.

Autonomous council

After the comments from the Union home minister Amit Shah that the talks will “conclude” only once the views and inputs of all the north eastern states especially Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are taken into account, people of Arunachal are a bit relieved.

However, now, people are worried that if the rumours regarding the setup of an autonomous council are true then who will have the control?

When EastMojo contacted Nani Bath, professor, department of political science, Rajiv Gandhi University, he said, “I will be happy with the creation of autonomous territorial council but that should not be controlled from outside the state.”

Analogous views were shared by Tobom Dai, general secretary, All Arunachal Pradesh Student’s Union (AAPSU) that if autonomous is given; it should be under the ambit of the state government. If the control is from Nagaland, then it’s very similar to be a part in the greater Nagalim, Dai said.

A local from TLC region under the condition of anonymity said, “If the autonomous council is formed then the insurgent groups will loot the leaders heading the council directly as the funds will come directly from the Centre to the council heads.

Fear of the people

If sources are to be believed, the political leaders and even most of the people of Arunachal Pradesh are aware that denizens of TLC region are hesitant to raise their voice as they have the fear of non-state elements.

Reportedly, a few college-going students from the TCL region had also resolved to express their views, the views of other youths in regards to compromise of territorial integrity and also on autonomous council but their voices were suppressed by a single phone call allegedly made from Dimapur.

Sources told EastMojo that these students had also come up with some resolutions of their own and were ready to submit the same to the chief minister, governor and other people concerned, however, the intimidating call made by some top brass changed the entire scenario.

The caller asked these students to come to Dimapur to have talks rather than going to the media or other people. There were cautions given if they didn’t do that, sources said.

Tribes are yet to be recognised

After 32 years of statehood, five tribes from the Tirap, Changlang and Longding region of Arunachal Pradesh are still waiting for their recognition. The Tangsa, Nocte, Tutsa, Wangcho and Yobin which were known as other Naga tribes do not have any identity in the Constitution and therefore, do not enjoy the benefits of reservation as applicable to other scheduled tribes.

On November 13, 2015, MP Ninong Ering, introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha. The private member’s bill seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order so as to include the tribes — Tangsa, Nocte, Tutsa, Wangcho and Yobin — in the list of scheduled tribes in respect of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

On June 05, 2018, Ering met Union minister for tribal affairs, Jual Oram, at his residence office in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum regarding the same. Though the tag of other Naga tribes has been removed, the Bill is yet to be taken up for further discussion in the Lok Sabha.

Notably, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has already issued a no-objection certificate to the Centre, paving way for introduction of the bill.

Recently, a recommendation letter has been sent to the Centre to include these tribes in the list of recognised scheduled tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

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